If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of experiencing Infamous, the circus cabaret show currently taking the Gold Coast by storm, we suggest you get on that quick smart. In large part due to this guy.
Jessie Grant is one of Infamous’ lead performers, a self proclaimed clown, trapeze artist and general good time guy who pulls the show together with his hilarious antics and partial nudity.
We sat down for a chat with Jessie about being a seventh generation circus performer and double somersaults on the (way too high in our opinion) trapeze.
How long have you been hanging out on the Gold Coast now?
We’ve been here for about seven and a half weeks now. Because I travel with the circus, right now I call the Italo-Australian Club home. Wherever the circus is, is where I call home. I was born travelling with the circus. We own a property outside of Toowoomba; I’ve spent time there but never really lived there. I don’t like staying in one spot for too long.
What do you love most about it?
I love the sunshine, the weather is great. I have a lot of friends and family here, I’ve been coming to the Gold Coast for 10 or more years so I can see people I haven’t seen for a long time.
Tell us how you came to be a circus performer?
My family has been in the circus for close to 170 years, I’m seventh generation. My father was in the circus, his father, my great grandfather and great great grandfather and even my great, great, great grandfather. It’s definitely been a family tradition. Obviously the kids have no choice but to join because that’s what the parents do but I’ve got family members that were in the circus and aren’t anymore, one went to Oxford and became a professor and another went to Bond University here and is now working in Tasmania. I’ll definitely be in entertainment for the rest of my life, I’m a lighting designer and I do production stuff aswell so I’m not only a performer.
What memories stand out throughout your career?
There’s too many. The biggest memory I have is going into the ring at seven or eight years old – we did one act where there were 20 to 30 people on the stage at one time, which was pretty much all of my family. I’ve got so many different memories of being in this one act with my family performing in front of hundreds of people. I started doing that act when I was three years old.
For those who haven’t seen it, what can people expect from Infamous?
They can expect it to be something they haven’t seen in any traditional circus or cabaret show. It’s the best of both worlds, we’ve got the flying trapeze, wheel of death, comedy and dancers.
Why do you think it’s been popular enough to add a second season?
I think because it’s different to all the other shows. Because we’re a family, we have a very strong vibe we give off during the show; it’s a completely different feeling. The performance we put in and the talent we’ve got in this show, I think that’s what draws people back.
What’s your role in the show?
I’m a comedy character so I walk around pretending to sweep up; I get a little bit drunk and pretty much just muck around the whole show. I’m supposed to be doing a lot of other different things but I just make up my own stuff as I go along, push my way into the show and hopefully become the highlight. At the end I go on the trapeze and do a double somersault and catch it, to everyone’s surprise. Everything I do up there as the comedy part has come from my father, he used to do flying trapeze as a clown aswell.
What’s the secret to performing night after night in such a physically demanding role?
Lots of sleep. You’ve got to do a lot of exercise and have a lot of energy but you’ve also got to have a lot of rest time. It’s very physically demanding even though we only do four shows a week but because we do less shows, we have more rest time so it builds up and you get tired quicker.
What’s it like to live a life on the road?
We’re lucky because we’re with our family all the time but it can be a pretty demanding life. There’s a lot of work, we’re still setting up now, we do about a week of setup for the show and don’t get time off for that. Everyone has to get in and do everything, there’s constant pressure to get stuff going. Once we’re set up though, we’re in a town for six to seven weeks and it’s pretty cruisey, we only do four shows a week. I guess it has its good times and its hard times.
What’s the plan for the rest of the year for you?
We’re not sure yet, we’re planning on Brisbane but have to wait. We generally don’t book new towns until about a month before. We’re just here for now and we’ll see.
Best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t think that anything is enough. If you want to do something, do it, don’t dwell on it. Just go do it.
Book your tickets to Infamous the Show QUICKLY right here.